s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
I spent an afternoon looking through cookbooks with my daughter, and she immediately gravitated toward this s’more cake. So we made it. I used my favorite chocolate layer cake, then coated it in marshmallow-like frosting and crushed graham crackers. It was a sticky mess, as the delicate chocolate cake crumbled all over the frosting, the meringue did not streak into beautiful tall peaks as I had imagined, and then the top scorched under the broiler. I was just about to shelve the recipe when I tasted a small  piece that had broken off at the edge. Instantly my mind wandered to junior high sleepovers where there was always a boxed mix and a can of frosting for midnight cake baking; summer camp nights with friends, singing around the fire and scorching our fingers while we gobbled down burnt marshmallows and melty chocolate, and that Friday afternoon in 10th grade when I started an epic cake fight in my American history class. There was confetti and smashed bits of cake covering everyone and everything and I was grounded from the car for weeks, but I never regretted throwing that first piece. In other words, this cake was amazing.
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
smore cake4 (1 of 1)blogsize
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog
Imperfection has an important place in the kitchen. I had forgotten the beauty of hands, shirts, and dishtowels covered in frosting, lopsided cake layers, and chocolate crumbs scattered all over my counter in a delicious mess.

“Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” – Julia Child

s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog

S’more Cake
from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

I used The Chocolate Cake for the cake layers. It tasted delicious, but the layers are a bit delicate and a crumb coat was rather impossible here, so it turned into a bit of a chocolate mess. If you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe you can feel free to use that instead. Following Joy’s instructions, I sprinkled crushed graham crackers between each frosted layer, and then gently pressed them into the sides of the cake to cover up all my chocolate crumbles stuck in the frosting.

This recipe will make about 5 cups of frosting. You must use the frosting immediately on the cake! You can toast the meringue with the flame of a kitchen torch, or in a 375 degree oven for about 4 minutes. Mine was in the oven for 10 minutes and hadn’t changed colors, so I stuck it under the broiler for a few seconds, and charred the top. But I like a little char on my marshmallows when I make s’mores, so I thought it was appropriate. Also, I liked how the frosting sort of puffed up after being in the oven for a bit – it made it seem more like a toasted marshmallow.

This cake is so dang good. Really.

marshmallow meringue frosting
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. Whisk the mixture as it heats and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. The mixture will be fluffy and glossy and look like melted marshmallows. It’ll be sticky, too. Beat in the vanilla. Frost cake just after frosting is made.
s'more cake | the vanilla bean blog

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36 Responses to s’more cake

  1. Beautiful cake – imperfections and all. And I would have loved to see that cake fight!

  2. I love that about imperfection in the kitchen – love the memories, sarah! your description reminded me of one of my first cakes i made for my husband 13 years ago – cake mix and canned frosting, and I tried so hard to make it look “perfect” … it looked like total crap but it was well loved and eaten anyway! Love the sound of this cake too, I need to try your chocolate cake recipe…. xo

  3. Such a great cake, from the flavor to its appearance. Love it!

  4. What a lovely quote from Julia Child 🙂 sometimes the worst looking things taste great and your cake still looked pretty fantastic to me!

  5. I love everything about this post – the nostalgia, the messiness, the Julia Child quote and the fact that it’s one of brilliant Joy’s recipes. On a marshmallowy note, I highly recommend getting a cheap blowtorch – it will change your life when it comes to baked alaskas and cakes like this! x

  6. Like your daughter, I would TOTALLY gravitate towards s’more cake too! This is gorgeous.

  7. This is sooooo lovely. I finally finished leafing through Joy’s book during my lunch break yesterday. I want to make EVERYTHING. Your cake looks wonderful, in all of its charred imperfections. Beautiful post, Sarah.

  8. Ana says:

    That looks like an amazing cake! The ‘messy’ cakes taste the best!

  9. Sacha says:

    Oh, this is wonderful, Sarah. Lately I’ve found myself trying to make things prettier than I normally do when really I am a rustic, imperfect baker. I think this cake is beautiful and it sounds downright decadent.

  10. Maryna says:

    Your cake is perfectly imperfect)

  11. Amanda says:

    I love your optimism. But then, a great-tasting cake overlights a multitude of darknesses. Happy Halloween.

  12. Abby says:

    your writing is beautiful (as always!), Sarah, and these photos are just flawless. i love the one with your daughter and the slice of cake. 🙂

  13. I see nothing but beauty in your cake photos. Love the post and now have an unreal craving for S’mores!

  14. Love that you posted this cake even though it didn’t turn out looking quite the way you imagined. I see so many pictures of perfect, fancy cakes that look absolutely beautiful — but this one is actually more appealing to me. Sometimes messy really is best.

  15. Kelly says:

    I so agree with you! Imperfection must have a place in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Kelly Holmes says:

    I, like many of your readers, am addicted to various cooking and baking blogs. It’s one of my favorite self-care activities: losing myself in page after page of sweet and salty adventures. Sometimes I do get discouraged, though, and feel like I could never recreate the masterpieces my idols create. It is so wonderful to be reminded that imperfections can also be triumphs, and that beauty in food is oh so relative. I happen to be experiencing a particularly low moment in my life right now, and this post lifted my spirits hugely. Thank you for not scrapping it and sharing it with us instead.

  17. […] this cake, which reminded me that cooking with little people is a magical […]

  18. Great blog from the delicious but imperfect cake to the epic cake food fight. Made me laugh. Your daughter is sweet and the frosting is divine. And the reverse could be said and also be true—Your daughter is divine and the frosting is sweet.

  19. WOW! Truly gorgeous cake! And your photography – talk about stunning!

  20. Who can resist a s’more, especially with homemade marshmallow?! You know that I can’t! 😉

  21. Kathryn says:

    Well, I think this cake looks pretty perfect to me. But, most of it, it looks like it tells a story.

  22. Ohhh my goodness this looks and sounds ridiculously decadent and delicious! I have been in SUCH a chocolate mood all day (even more so than usual, for some reason!) so this really does sound extra wonderful. And your daughter is too adorable for words back there! Xox

  23. Oh my goodness, this looks incredible! I have never had smores, but I really want to try this cake. I will use the excuse that I need to practice my meringue skills 🙂

  24. Anja says:

    Mmm … this looks delicious 🙂

  25. Paige says:

    I love that you didn’t toss this. Wonderful story that also brought lost memories of high school back. Thanks so much for sharing this imperfect cake!

  26. […] This S’mores cake ? ? ? ? ? This chick’s blog is one of my absolute favorites, […]

  27. Charlotte says:

    WOW this cake looks almost black! I looove intense cocoa falvour <3

  28. Anna says:

    ‘Imperfection has an important place in the kitchen”

    I couldn’t agree more – my kitchen is my no-judgment, flour-dusted, lopsided sanctuary. Perfection is over rated.

  29. johanne says:

    Finally found a perfect desert for thanksgiving.

  30. Heather says:

    This looks delicious! I love a marshmallow meringue and you can’t beat anything s’mores!

  31. April says:

    I’m in love. I definitely have to try this recipe.

  32. […] combine classic baking styles (here the cake reigns supreme) with unusual, nostalgic twists. S’mores Cake, […]

  33. Rachel says:

    Wow this recipe looks amazing!

  34. Wow! Looks so good! Love this idea!

  35. […] This S’mores cake ? ? ? ? ? This chick’s blog is one of my absolute favorites, […]

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